By now, I have spoken at more than 1,000 conferences and other events, from village halls through to major convenings like the Skoll World Forum (which I have attended since the outset) and the World Economic Forum (where from 2002 I was on the faculty for seven years). I am still routinely surprised to find myself addressing large numbers of people, since I was at times paralytically shy as a child. But needs must.
All speaking engagements are dealt with through Volans, via Yinka Awoyinka (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For a sense of how these things go, here are a few videos:
- B Corp Summit, Amsterdam, 2019
- Project Breakthrough, video interview, 2017
- PE International, Stuttgart, Germany, 2014
- Bayer MaterialScience event, K-Fair,Düsseldorf, Germany, 2013
- Breakthrough Capitalism Forum, London, 2012
- WOBI/World of Business Ideas, Sao Paolo, Brazil
- Insead, Fontainbleau, France/Singapore, 2012
- Singapore International Foundation, Singapore, 2011
- Institute of Family Business, Liverpool/London, 2011
- IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2009
The first public speech I made, aged 11—and I was very nervous—was to my fellow pupils at Glencot Preparatory School, near Wookey Hole in Somerset, back in 1961. I invited them (perhaps 80 in total) to give me their treasured pocket money for two weeks—and got it. The money was to support the fledgling World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which had launched that year. For many years, in more recent times, I have been a member of the WWF UK Council of Ambassadors.
One form of speaking I particularly enjoy involves engaging with the new generation of students. To my surprise, I find myself a Visiting Professor at the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility, Cranfield University, at Imperial College and at my alma mater, UCL. It is a delight that a fair few such engagements result in students joining us for projects and internships.
One of the great pleasures of working in these fields has been the growing engagement of bright young people (see above) and with activists and social entrepreneurs from around the world, among them (below) Vera Cordeiro of Associação Saúde Criança and Laura Uplinger, both from Brazil. A world class social entrepreneur, Vera was later a member of the Volans Advisory Board.